You have probably read countless articles on the importance and impact that reading has for students. Among the obvious advantages like building vocabulary, enhancing comprehension and providing in depth knowledge, there are also intrinsic values such as mental stimulation and relaxation! But how does reading, specially from a younger age, help pave the way to a good college?
I had a chance to correspond with Nancy Griesemer from College Explorations and here are the ones that have the biggest impact from reading books!
Many of the college applications are now curating questions in their supplemental essays that focus on a central theme. Reading.
Columbia University in their 2018-19 supplemental essay asked to ‘list the titles of books read for pleasure that you enjoyed most in the past year’.
Stanford similarly probed students interests and reading habits by asking, ‘When the choice is yours, what do you read, listen to or watch?’
Harvard also in their optional essays asks potential students to list ‘A list of books you have read in the past 12 months’
Keeping this in mind, It is imperative that students build up their reading repertoire and arm themselves with good books from a variety of genres. Keeping a record of what they have read would be beneficial, perhaps with a list of favorite authors or favorite books. Students can do this easily on many online websites such as ‘Good reads’ or even pen this in a reading journal.
Nancy Griesemer says in one of her articles ‘ Colleges not only care that you read, they also care what you are reading as well as what you have learned from the experience.’
A better reader makes a better writer. Once a student explores different genres in reading, he will enhance his writing skills in more ways than one. Nancy goes on to say ‘ Writing goes hand-in-hand with reading. One strengthens the other. Today’s high school students don’t always engage in research or think about preparing an article for submission to a journal. I strongly suggest reinforcing writing skills to support reading abilities ‘
Essays are now required by most Colleges as part of their application process. Not only does this showcase the writing skills of the student but it also gives them the opportunity to tell their unique story and make their voice heard.
When a student pursues outside reading (books outside the assigned reading list) he will come across issues and causes that he can relate to and is passionate about. This will eventually translate to being able to write a personal statement that can make him stand out.
Improved Academics & Scores
This almost goes without saying, but reading can help a student power through SAT and ACT suggested vocabulary lists because chances are they have come across those words before. What’s more, when they are tested, most words are asked in context. That means the students need to know how to use it in a sentence. Just memorizing words will not get you there entirely. That’s where reading comes in!
In her article Nancy says, ‘You can pay thousands of dollars to the best test prep company in town, but nothing improves test scores like being an active reader. And those students who didn’t stop reading in middle school are bound to be more successful test-takers.’
The rigour of AP/IB courses requires an extensive amount of reading and comprehending texts in a short amount of time. When students push their reading level above and beyond that is needed, they will see the results in their academic grades.
These three only touch the surface of the advantages of reading for college admissions. But they are fundamental ones! Reading throughout middle school and high school is imperative for a student to reap this advantage.
Thanks for reading. If you feel like this could benefit someone, please don’t hesitate to share and drop me your thoughts!